One of the only things I miss about eating meat is sinking my teeth into the chewy, juicy, cheesy layers of a good casserole. It's tough to find a vegetarian equivalent of that experience, I've found. However, Rachael Ray's quesadilla casserole comes pretty damn close. I am in love with this recipe. I would be happy to make it every week. It's a tad time-consuming to put together, but it isn't difficult. I made some slight changes, which are included in the recipe below.
You will need:
- 2-3 Tbsp canola oil
- small onion, cut in half from end to stem and then sliced into thin half moons
- 2 15-oz cans of black beans, drained and 1/2 cup liquid reserved
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed (just rinse under warm water)
- 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- a few dashes of hot sauce (optional)
- 3 10-inch flour tortillas (burrito size, I believe)
- 8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 can enchilada sauce (I used mild red)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray a large, oven-proof skillet with non-stick spray and set aside.
- In another skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until nice and browned. (I think it took 8-10 minutes.) Remove from heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of the black beans and mash into a chunky paste; stir in the reserved liquid.
- In a bowl, combine the remaining black beans, corn, parsley, tomato, and hot sauce.
- Place a tortilla in the bottom of the oven-proof skillet and top with 1/3 of the onion mixture. Then top that with 1/3 of the corn mixture and 1/3 of the cheese.
- Layer another tortilla on top of that, press it down a bit, and repeat with 1/3 of the onion mixture, the corn mixture, and the cheese. Repeat this step once more.
- Pop the skillet in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until heated through. The cheese should be nice and melty melty (it's a technical term). If you can, slide it out of the skillet and onto a place so you can cut it into pie-like slices. Top each slice with a drizzle of enchilada sauce.
I was happy with how colorful this turned out! The original recipe doesn't call for tomato, but I think it really added something. Also, the recipe called for more layers, but I was lazy and found it easier to break the mixtures into even thirds anyway. You could stick the skillet under the broiler for the last minute or two, but I hate heating up the broiler to use it for such a short amount of time. I don't think it was missing anything by skipping the broiler step. Also, I doubt I ended up using the full 8 ounces of cheese. I just grabbed a handful or two to top each layer without measuring it. This dish is hearty and satisfying, and I can't wait to make it again. I'd love to make it with fresh corn sometime. This is a great end-of-summer recipe.